Practice Relating to Rule 105. Respect for Family Life
Canada’s Code of Conduct (2001) provides that civilians in a foreign land are entitled in all circumstances to respect for their family rights.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001), in its chapter on the treatment of civilians in the hands of a party to the conflict or an occupying power and, more specifically, in a section entitled “Provisions common to the territories of the parties to the conflict and to occupied territories”, the manual provides:
1118. Humane treatment of protected persons
1. The person, honour, family rights, religious conventions and practices, and manners and customs of protected persons must in all circumstances be respected.
They must be humanely treated and protected against all acts or threats of violence, and against insults and public curiosity.
In its chapter on rights and duties of occupying powers, the manual also states:
1. It is the duty of the occupant to see that the lives of the inhabitants are respected, [and] that their domestic peace and honour are not disturbed …
2. In all circumstances protected persons are entitled to respect for their person, their honour, [and] their family rights.
Rule 4 of Canada’s Code of Conduct (2005) instructs Canadian Forces (CF) personnel: “Treat all civilians humanely and respect civilian property”.
The Code of Conduct further explains:
Military operations in foreign lands expose CF personnel to civilian populations that differ markedly from our own. However different or unusual a foreign land may appear, these civilians are in all circumstances entitled to respect for their persons and property, their honour, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and customs. In your daily interaction with the civilian population, they must at all times be humanely treated and shall not be subjected to acts of violence, threats, or insults. Women and children in particular must not be subjected to rape, enforced prostitution, and any form of indecent assault. All civilians, subject to favourable considerations based on sex, health or age, must be treated with the same consideration and without any adverse distinction based in particular on race, religion or political opinion.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (1999) provides with respect to non-international armed conflicts in particular: “Children are to receive such aid and protection as required including: … b. steps to reunite them with their families”.
Canada’s LOAC Manual (2001), in its chapter on the treatment of civilians in the hands of a party to the conflict or an occupying power, states:
1115. Family correspondence
All persons in the territory of the belligerent or in territory occupied by the belligerent must be enabled to transmit to and receive from members of their families, wherever they may be, news of a strictly personal nature. There must be no undue delay in forwarding such correspondence.
This correspondence is liable to censorship by the belligerent concerned. If the belligerents consider it necessary to restrict such correspondence the restrictions must be limited to prescribing the compulsory use of standard forms containing 25 freely chosen words, to be despatched at the rate of not less than one a month.
1117. Family enquiries
Belligerents must facilitate enquiries by members of families dispersed as a result of the war, with the object of renewing contact between them. They must also facilitate the work of approved organizations engaged in this task.
In its chapter on non-international armed conflicts, the manual states: “[The 1977 Additional Protocol II] provides that children are to receive such aid and protection as required including: … b. steps to reunite them with their families”.
The manual also provides: “Parties to conflicts are obligated to facilitate the reunion of families dispersed as a result of armed conflicts.”